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Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you get your life back on track after depression. Simply click here to connect with one via BetterHelp.com.
Depression is a challenging problem to overcome. The symptoms of depression alone make it hard to maintain connections and your quality of life.
People who experience depression may withdraw and socially isolate, not have the energy for self-care or basic tasks, not have an appetite to eat, and struggle with their responsibilities.
Depression has a bad habit of rupturing social relationships, which is important to recovery and relapse prevention.
The following tips will help you bounce back and recover from the damage that depression can do to your life. Don’t be surprised if things don’t work out exactly as you hope. Sometimes the damage people do to their lives because of their mental struggles isn’t fixable. Still, new things can be found and created.
There will be more options and better things on the other side of depression.
1. Reconnect with friends and family.
Social relationships are often one of the first things to suffer when depression sets in. Depression robs a person of the mental and emotional energy needed to socialize. People who don’t struggle with depression don’t realize how much energy it takes to pick up a phone, organize a social outing, and be present at that outing.
However, when the depression starts to lift, it’s time to start rekindling those social relationships that may have fallen by the wayside. Hopefully, your friends and family will understand the struggles you faced trying to get through your depression. Unfortunately, reaching out is hard if you feel guilt and shame about losing touch while in the lows.
Still, it’s worth trying. If your friends, family, and social circles understand, they will be happy to see you and welcome you back. On the other hand, if you have a negative reception, it may be time to look for more supportive people to surround yourself with. Social support is an important part of recovery and preventing future bouts of depression.
2. Get caught up on neglected responsibilities.
Depression robs a person of their energy and focus. Important responsibilities can fall by the wayside in the deepest depths of depression. A person with depression may neglect housework like cleaning up and dishes, bills may not get paid, and the refrigerator may be empty.
Once that depression lifts, it’s time to reengage with life’s responsibilities so you don’t end up drowning in them. But, of course, you may already be drowning in them, so you may need a plan of attack on how to go about getting things fixed.
Start with a nice shower, brush your teeth, and comb your hair. Taking those early steps back into a healthier space will feel good.
Next, make sure your car payment is made. You can’t drive a house or apartment to work if you’re working. That’s a bleak consideration, but it’s important to make.
Then, make sure the rent is paid, then the applicable bills. After that, focus on getting things cleaned up and food restocked in the fridge.
3. Start getting some exercise and outdoor time.
Exercise and outdoor time provide massive benefits for recovering from depression and preventing future relapses. Exercise helps produce several hormones and endorphins that boost and level off moods. Good exercise also promotes healthy tiredness, which helps you sleep more restfully.
And then, of course, there are the benefits of Vitamin D from the sunshine.
You may want to consult a doctor before starting any heavy exercise regimen. You don’t want to injure yourself or cause health problems because your body isn’t used to the exercise.
4. Do some things you previously enjoyed.
Depression can put a significant damper on your spark of enjoyment for other things. For example, you may find that you don’t feel motivated or look forward to picking up old hobbies that you previously enjoyed. Sometimes you have to rekindle your spark after recovering from depression. If you lack that spark of interest, try doing some of the things that you previously enjoyed.
Doing what you one enjoyed may be enough to get that flame going again. It may not happen straight away, though, so be prepared to do something two or three times before you begin to get that enjoyment back.
5. Get your diet back to something healthier.
A healthy diet plays an important role in managing mental health. As anyone with depression can tell you, eating habits often suffer greatly because depression can kill your appetite. Not only that, but depression robs you of the energy to make plans for meals, go to the grocery store, deal with navigating people in the store, find your food, talk to the cashier, and then head home.
Each of those steps can seem like an insurmountable obstacle when you have no energy to deal with it. So, a person experiencing depression may not eat, order out, or just consume junk food.
Take some time to correct your eating habits. Try to lay off caffeine and stimulants, eat healthier food, and drink more water. Try to get back onto a regular eating schedule to get your energy back up. Good nutrition also plays a role in preventing relapses back into the pit of depression.
6. Find healthy ways to address your stress.
Prolonged stress can affect your body in so many negative ways. When the brain recognizes stress, it starts changing physiological processes to deal with the stress. One of those changes is the production of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol tells your body to be prepared to deal with a threat. That’s all well and good when you’re going through temporary stress, but not so good when it’s a long-term stressful situation.
Cortisol can contribute to heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal issues, and many other problems when it is in your system for an extended time.
Life is stressful. The boss at work may be a jerk who stresses you out. The job itself may be high stress and difficult. Then you have the general responsibilities of life like caring for family, getting those bills paid, and addressing any issues that pop up unexpectedly. You may be worried about your friendships and relationship because they aren’t going so smoothly.
You need healthy ways to deal with stress, so you don’t drown in it. Activities like exercise, healthy eating, journaling, and meditation can significantly reduce stress. In addition, a relaxing hobby is a good option to take your mind off your difficulties for a little while.
7. Forgive yourself for not meeting your expectations.
One struggle many people with depression face while recovering is simply the act of forgiving oneself for not living up to their expectations.
We all have a mental image of ourselves, who we are, and what we’re capable of. Some are certainly better than others. Unfortunately, some people don’t have a positive image of themselves. They only see bad things when they look in a mirror. They may also be unable to tell themselves any good things about who they are or what they’re about.
Still, you must find a way to be kind to yourself, even if it’s addressing those issues with a qualified therapist. The truth is that you can drive yourself back down into a depressive pit if you aren’t careful with your self-perception. You may find yourself right back in the hole if you spend time convincing yourself that you are nothing good and can’t accomplish anything good.
You won’t always live up to your own expectations. That’s okay. You can always find a different path forward, even if it’s not the one you originally envisioned.
8. Maintain any treatment that you’re receiving.
One challenge of mental health recovery is maintaining treatment once you start feeling better. Unfortunately, so many people start feeling better, decide they can stop doing the things that are helping them, and promptly spiral back into mental unwellness.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is stopping their medication. Stopping psych medication can cause severe instability, easily pitching a person into an unwell mental state.
It is vitally important that you stay with your treatment even after you start feeling better. Go by the advice of your doctor. If they tell you that it would be best to stay on the meds, in therapy, or whatever you’re doing, that is likely the right course of action.
9. Challenge lingering negative thoughts.
Mental health isn’t a neat thing that fits neatly into a box. In many cases, there will be lingering bits and pieces that you will still need to deal with. For example, a person recovering from depression may still have recurring negative thoughts, feelings, or blunting of emotions. That’s a normal thing to happen, and it’s something you’ll want to develop strategies for dealing with.
One effective strategy is to swim against the current. When your brain tells you something is bad, you instead focus on the positive or good things about it. This isn’t always a smooth or easy process. You may find that these thoughts keep popping up here and there. They may stay consistent and not want to recede.
But the more you work at it, the easier it will get. And hopefully, they will mostly recede with some regular time and effort.
10. Grant yourself grace while you recover.
There’s no easy way to put this. Mental illness is hard, life is hard, and living with mental illness is even harder. Grace is the state of accepting your own limitations and struggles to overcome them.
You’re not going to get it right all the time, and that’s okay. The important thing is to keep doing the things that will help keep the depression at bay as much as possible. If you have a support network, this is where they can really help you by keeping you on track.
Take some time to remind yourself that you’re doing your best, even if your best isn’t so good. Of course, it won’t be all the time, especially if you have recurring bouts of depression that you need to get through.
But you can get through it; you can continue to recover and get your life back where you want it. Recovery from depression is challenging, but it is doable. Many people with depression go on to live meaningful, fulfilling lives.
Want a helping hand to guide you as you come out of depression? Talking to someone can really help you to handle whatever life throws at you. It’s a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.
We really recommend you speak to a therapist rather than a friend or family member. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to recover, rebuild, and be happy again after the worst of your depression has passed.
A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances – and you aren’t already speaking to a professional – therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Click here if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
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